OK. I harvested my beets a few months ago and I teamed up with Farmer Danny Miller, to have a combine total of about 350 pounds of sugar beets to process.
I did a small 15 pound test (see video) and had some interesting results. I was able to create a very molasses tasting sugar that was a consistency of wet sand.
The plan was to have a sugar making party, but the spaces that I hoped to be able to use were not available. Throw in an end of semester push and the holidays and I have not touched my beets.
The beets are kept safely outside in freezer temperature, which I am not sure how that will effect the final sugar making result compared to if I processed them into sugar right after harvest.
With that said, I feel that my next test, which will attempt to make white sugar is a bench mark. The issue with sugar beet making for me is the huge harvest and the large scale production effort needed.
At about 10-15% sugar yield per beet weight, and a possible 1-5 pound per beet weight, a home sugar beet grower could find themselves with too many beets and overwhelmed with the prospect of making sugar.
But ideally, if sorting the beets does not significantly reduce sugar content, I feel that making sugar from beets in several small batches of say 25-50 pounds makes more sense for the home sugar maker. That should make around 3-7 pounds of sugar per batch, enough to provide a family sugar needs until the next batch in made. The process can be handled with say two pots going on the back of the stove.
I will be attempting to make and video a small batch this weekend which will include carbonation process to remove impurities and diffusion, which will separate the molasses from the white sugar crystals to produce both liquid molasses and white crystal beet sugar.